Last Saturday, I went shopping at Garden State Plaza with my family. I had been on maternity leave for around 3 months but was now back in the game and excited to be out and about. As a cultural strategist, I was looking forward to some voyeurism; instead I somehow became part of the experience. The thought was, grandma Jean was in from Scotland and who doesn’t like a good shop?
Our original list was minimal–a spring trench and a belt–but we were enjoying the walkabout.
First experience: C Wonder
The jackets here were navy and made of classic rain gear (picture thick rubbery plastic). No thanks. But I did find an adorable floral top. My 5-year-old son was already in the dressing room, giggling away. I found him playing with a touch screen on the wall, organized by mood music, volume and lighting with an inviting button screaming, “NEED HELP? Press me!” Well, it was only to the count of 10 before a dance party erupted with Grandma Jean doing her best twerk to the mood “wonderful.”
Next experience: Anthropologie
Before we could even find the jackets and belts, our attention veered to a cool arts and crafts table, complemented by mini cupcakes, macaroons, juice and water and a friendly attendant who made it clear that she would watch our son while we perused the store. The next 10 minutes were spent trying on flirty hats and jackets. We left with a belt, a beautiful butterfly watercolor drawing by Brodes and the sweet taste of macaroon on our tongues.
Next experience: Reebok
We blew right past this one, the 3 -month-old was napping and not in the mood to ‘train and get fit’.
Final experience: dancing model
Smack dab in the middle of the mall, we ran right into a model dancing with “sprockets-inspired” moves. When I got my camera out, she assumed the classic model stance. My husband definitely enjoyed that one.
After a brief stint at the aquatic-themed play area, we were outta there.
That is, after we considered spending $60,000 on a Tesla Model S. Instead, we spent $100 on a belt, a pair of sandals and some hair products.
I couldn’t get the image of the mall from Fast Times at Ridgemont High out of my mind, THE quintessential mall of my youth. That was a mall, this was an experience. Guess the future has finally arrived. That is, if you can afford it.